Monday, April 07, 2008

Turtle Crossing

As everyone who knows my preference knows, I take the back way to Jtree from Las Vegas. I don;t know why everyone doesn't frankly. The option is a crowded superhighway... who wants to do that!? It's not quicker, that's for sure. The only thing I can think it has going over the Cima/Kelso/Amboy way is it's ability to allow the travelers to maintain life as they know it, cubicle-ized, contained and somafied.... It sure can't be the convenience of 'rest stops,' because on the back road, you can pull over anywhere you want and rest. Need a soda? Shoulda thought of that at the Last Stop for Food and Gas, back in Jean, a few miles before you exited the system at Nipton Road! It's only a 2 hour drive between that and TwentyNine Plams - who couldn't figure out they'd like a soda for the road?

"Two hours?" you ask. Why yes, 2 hours. Not THREE and LONGER, which is how long you'll be on the life is a highway rote route, staring at trailer asses, dodging crappy drivers and generally being stressed out with the whole road game. Plus, and this is important....there are no po-leece to fleece you should you pedal come to close to the metal. Oh, sure....there are signs that say "radar enforced," just like on the Big Boy road. The catch is....they don't enforce here. Try going 110mph down 215 for 120 miles and see how good your investment pays off.

And not only that....what are the chances, I ask, of seeing a beautiful desert turtle on the massive roadway? Less Than Zero is not only the title of a book about society's decadence.... That's right - you have virtually no chance - whatsoever - of running across(noooo, not THAT way) this guy of you don't take the path less traveled.
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But, no shit, there he was, hanging out at the side of the road just before I hit Cima. I slowed the car, pulled a U-turn(on 215, even of you DID see a big old turtle, you wouldn't be able to stop, much less turn around for him) and stopped many feet away, in order not to frighten the poor traveler.

It's important to mention here, and this cannot be overstated - NEVER touch pr pick up a desert turtle. NEVER. Why? because you will scare the piss out of him, and he will die from lack of water. "Even if he might get hit by a car otherwise?," you ask. The answer is the same. Not maybe, not probably. He will die. And Good Samaritan laws don't apply in nature. You'll be guilty as charged.

So, what to do for Mr. Turtle, I wondered, since he was parked on the very edge of the road and seemed headed toward the greener grass of the other side. Providence imposed itself as I heard the distant hum of an oncoming automobile....

I did what any nutsy earth lady would do. I waited for the car to come within sight, stepped into the road just far enough to get their attention but not freak them out, and waved as they came closer. Then, I pointed down to what I thought should have been obvious.

Apparently not, because they slowed down and cracked a window as they approached. I yelled out "Turtle!" and they squinched their eyes like I was talking some alien language. I repeated myself and pointed to the guy.

"oh, we thought you were in trouble." They rolled the window up and zoomed off. Without even a nodding glimpse at what was probably a 50-year old local resident. One might guess they see such things every day. One would most likely be guessing incorrectly.

But, there I had my answer. It was my new job to hang out while this turtle made his epic crossing. And that is exactly what I did.

Now, you might make an argument that all my 110mph saved time was wasted with the 45 minutes I sat guard for this turtle. For that is how long it took. Okay....maybe not that long. But a while anyway. I didn't pay attention. "But what about the wasted time?" you ask.

the answer is, there was no wasted time. I have no idea what you are talking about. In fact, I would go so far, if you suggest such a thing, that you spend too much of your own damned time racing along the highways of life.

.....

Here's Mr. Turtle's Trip Report(with pictures):
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Here I am, waiting for a break in the traffic, so I can get across the road. It's a task, I can tell you. Cars come down this road fairly infrequently, compared to say, 215, but even so - I gotta be careful. No mistake, Big pancake ain't just a JTree classic, ya know.

Anyway, this yellow rig is racing down the road - thank God it's way over on the other side! But it starts to slow down..."Uh oh," I say to myself. "I hope it's not one of those stupid do-gooder turtle picker-upper accidental murderers!" You know the types. They are really tall and skinny and have no shell.

The tall turtle stops about 20 feet away, and waits, which makes me feel a little better about the thing. But she's got some strange contraption in her hands, and keeps pointing it at me. I have no idea, but I am a desert denizen, as you know. And everyone knows that alien abductions are most likely to occur out here. Usually at night, I've heard, but....well, I just hope that's not some sort of probe.

She doesn't seem to be attempting to come closer, and that's a good thing. When I get scared, it makes me want to pee, and I don't know why, but I've always felt that would be a bad idea. I've seen some shit go down, I'll tell you, but I never lost control in that way.... But the machine....it seems to be able to come forward of it's own volition! Ho-lee shit.....it's moving. But then it stops. And makes a clicking sound. I have no idea what has just occurred. Maybe my soul has been captured....
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After a while, I heard the familiar sound of one of those metal City Turtles. Those fuckers are fast, I tell you. And they could care less about us old folks. The wizz by and sometimes...well, I don't want to tell you!

Then, a strange thing happened. The tall one guards my space and makes sure the City Turtle cannot come close enough to hurt me! Wow. That's unexpected... Still, pretty wierd. But I guess I'm safe enough to continue on my way, as I had been doing before being interrupted. "So, lady," I think, "This is the crux of the problem. Watch me!"
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I have always been a safety-conscious turtle and my momma taught me to look before crossing the street. This day would be no different.
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Here I am, just about to cross the point of no return. To you big turtles, it's just a painted line. But to us shellbacks, it's more. Much more. Every second spent on the other side of that line is like being run out on dicey choss!
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Phew...This is hard work. Oh look - Food! I didn't expect roadside dining.
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Believe it or not, another City Turtle has come by, in the time between the last picture and this one, and the tall one once again guarded me. When it happened, I withdrew, as is standard operating procedure, so I'm not exactly sure what went down, but it seemed safe again, so off I headed.
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Okay, I'm on my way for real now.
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You know....I just turned to tell the tall turtle thanks, but I think I scared her. Maybe she thaught I was going to bite her toe or something, but she backed up real quick....I hope she didn't pee. That would be awful!
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She stopped, and raised that thingamajig again, and for a minute I worried maybe it was a gun, but just like before, it just clicked a sound and did nothing else.
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I was tired though, and really wanted to rest. Unfortunately.... INCOMING!!!!
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Damn, those City Turtle Speed Demons! That one was close. They didn't even slow down, even though you'd THINK it odd to see a tall turtle standing in the middle of the road..... Kids these days.

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Here I am approaching the halfway mark. I don't know who puts these lines on the road, but I can tell you that we turtles find them very interesting. They seem to be some sort of equator. City turtles reverse direction once you pass these markers. Why, I couldn't tell you. And occasionally there's an aberration. But for the most part, it's "Before the Yellow line, Look Left. Pass the Yellow Line, Look Right This Time!"

In the distance here, you can see the oasis I am headed for. Heavy brush and shelter from the heat! My sweetie has a little den just out this way...hubba hubba!
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Speaking of which, I think I got a second wind....heheheh "Honey, I'm on my waaaaay!"
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1 comment:

GB said...

Great post. The POV is hilarious.